Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Holiness and Worship--post from 1/2013

Holiness and Worship

"Because it is written, "Be ye holy, for I am holy."" (1 Peter 1:16)

Holiness means to be set apart for the service of God. Set apart entails that God has a special plan or purpose for each of our lives. So what does God mean when he says to be holy, for He is holy? He means that we are to set ourselves apart from the world because He has a plan for our lives. Have you ever heard the sentence, "God did not make junk." He didn't. God is a God of love, for "God is love."1 John 4:8. Now allow me to define love. Love is not jealous or unkind. It is not just a feeling, but it is an action. Anyone can say "I love you.", but true love requires respect, kindness, sacrifice, reverence, and forgiveness. Yes, forgiveness, just as Jesus has done for believers, He expects us to forgive others. Other than that is outright hypocrisy. To set one apart is to do what the world does not expect anyone else to do and forgiveness is something that is often ridiculed or misunderstood in the world. (Matthew 6:9-13, Matthew 18:21-22, 23-30, 1 Corinthians 13:4, 1 Peter 1:15-16 )

Setting one self apart is part of of a Christian's life. The life of a Christian is not an easy one because of persecution. There are people throughout the centuries including today who have been martyrs for their faith from Stephen being stoned to the persecuted in Asia and Africa. Holiness is required of the Christian, something the world does not have or understand. When the world thinks of holiness, they think of religion or the infamous phrase, "holier than thou". When the Bible writes about holiness, it is about the reverence of our Heavenly Father, living in the Spirit, having a Spirit-controlled mind, and doing all that God requires. He command obedience from us, to serve Him and Him only regardless of what the world believes because the minds of those who are not true believers are sinful and are controlled by sinful nature. In short, those who are not holy or carnal can neither please God, nor see God. (1 Samuel 15:22, Psalm 24:3, Matthew 5:8, Romans 8:1-11, Hebrews 11:36-38)

God seeks people who are true and faithful, for He is a spirit and He seeks such to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. Only those who are true believers can worship Him in Spirit and in truth. To worship God means to show reverence to, love, and devote oneself to the Lord in Spirit and in truth. To elaborate, we are to fear the Lord, and bless the Lord at all times. His Praise shall continually be in our mouths. But praise and thanksgiving is only a part of worship. Worship requires holiness. That is why the title says that Holiness and worship go hand in hand. We as believers set ourselves apart from the world because of our holiness and live our lives because we, as his children, and joint-heirs, show reverence to our Creator not only in psalms and hymns but in how we live our lives. Jesus has sent the Church a Comforter, the Holy Spirit, which the world cannot receive because they are not born again. They set their minds and desire things of the world and sadly if they don't repent, their end will be destruction. (Psalm 34:2, John 4:23-24, John 14:16-18, Romans 8:16-17)

Christians are to set our minds on the things of God for we are no longer carnal; Paul writes of our sinful nature and the sin that still lives in us. We must not deceive ourselves saying that we have no sin, though we are no longer of the world, but we still live in it. Believers are more than conquerers and stand strong against our adversary, the Devil, for he is a roaring lion seeking for someone to devour. The Devil is already a defeated foe, but that doesn't mean he isn't busy. He is a liar deceiving and continues to deceive. There is sadly a belief even in the Church that we should ignore the devil and that he does not exist. The truth is, look around. There is great apostasy and corruption in the church, hedonism, greed, and selfishness abounds. Things like honor, integrity, love, and anything of God is not taken seriously or derided. The Devil is real and yes, he does exist. However, greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world, for Satan is the prince of the power of the air or ruler of the world. But Satan's end will be that of eternal torment in the lake of burning sulfur. (John 12:31,Romans 8:37, Eph. 2:2, Phil. 3:19, Colossians 3:2, 1 Peter 5:8, 1 John 4:4-6, Revelation 20:10)

The end for the righteous and the holy will be that of life eternal. Those who are holy are pure in heart; they shall see God. The righteous are the few, for we walk the narrow road. The holy are the faithful, for our Heavenly Father is faithful. He cannot lie. The holy are just, for our Heavenly Father is just. He hates sin and abhors evil. In the twinkling of an eye, Paul writes, we shall all be changed. The dead in Christ shall rise first, then the living will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. This message is only for those who have worshipped the Lord in Spirit in Truth and for the Holy. Repent. Those who are not holy or righteous including those in the Church must turn from their wicked ways and seek the Lord's face. Call on the name of the Jesus Christ, the Lord, and believe that God raised him from the dead. Humbly acknowledge that all of us have sinned and fallen short of God's glory. No one can see the Kingdom of God unless he or she is born again. We must be born again or else perish. (2 Chron. 7:14, Matthew 3:2, John 3:3-8, Romans 3:23, Romans 10:9-13, 1 Cor. 15:51-54, 2 Thess. 4:16-17)

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